(Posted on 17/12/20)
Welcome to my last update of the year.
The countdown to the Christmas break has certainly been muted. Recent events have cast a shadow over school life, and I know that I speak for everyone associated with Christleton High School, as I send our prayers and best wishes to Ethan and his family.
Thank you to all those who responded positively to my plea about taking care whilst dropping your children at school each morning. There are still a few parents who have ignored my appeal and we will continue to challenge them – doing three point turns and reversing into the school entrance is not safe, and we need you to help us keep all children safe. I would prefer it if parents didn’t feel the need to drop their children off as close to school as they can – and details of our Park and Stride scheme can be found at the following link:
I do need parental support in this matter.
On Wednesday, Mr Smith and I met with senior officers of the CWAC Highways department. We are in discussions about how to improve the safety of the cycling routes to school – the A41 in particular. If this is a designated safe route to school then it is not fit for purpose, and I am pressing the council to bring forward plans to make this route as safe as is practically possible, not just in the short run with resurfacing the cycle path, but also a longer term strategy for the safety of all A41 users. I can report that a full safety audit is being carried out and the Highways department will soon present both short and longer term plans. I will keep you updated as and when appropriate.
The Christmas edition of The Swan is now on our website, showcasing some of the activities that have taken place this term, including a feature on the products made by our GCSE Product Design students. These are on display in the exhibition area - congratulations to all our students on the high standards of design and construction.
You can access The Swan from this link:
GCSE mock exams have now been completed and teachers are busy marking the papers, ready for Results Day in January. These results are a key benchmark measure for this Year group; they were unable to sit their end of Year 10 exams, so this is the first time they have experienced the pressure of entering the exam hall. The analysis of these results will inform the next steps in our Recovery Curriculum plans for students and we will be offering further ‘catch-up’ and intervention classes throughout the next term, in the run up to exams.
The Department for Education have now published their plans for next summer’s exam period and these can be found at this link:
We are, however, still waiting for details to emerge from the exam boards, and these have been promised for January. Finally on exams – a reminder to our Sixth Form students that your mock exams start on 18th January and I hope you find some time over the Christmas break for some revision!
Our priority this term has been to get students back into learning and general school routines, but a very disappointing aspect of the COVID-19 restrictions under which we are operating, has been the loss of our extra-curricular activities. Our extensive extra-curricular programme very much relies on the volunteer efforts of staff, and we are incredibly lucky to have so many who are willing to give up their own time to run the sessions. However, this term, it has not been possible to operate in the normal way. Staff have been focusing on catch-up learning, running intervention classes after school and covering for absent colleagues who have been forced to self-isolate. It’s been a tremendous effort and I thank every one of them. I know from the many emails I receive that the vast majority of our parents and carers are also appreciative of their efforts.
We have begun to turn our attention to how things may develop in the Spring and Summer terms and discussions are taking place on how we may be able to return to some normality. Last week, we ran our first virtual Parents’ Evening for Year 13, and Mr Francis will be in touch in the new year, to tell you how we intend to facilitate Parents’ Evenings for other Year groups, as well as how we plan to run our GCSE option process. Our website already contains information on our Sixth Form enrolment process, (https://www.christletonhigh.co.uk/sixth-form/school-video.php) and subject presentations will be uploaded shortly. Mr Philips is planning virtual music performances and we look forward to a return the Duke of Edinburgh expeditions in the Summer term. All this said, however, our plans very much depend on the progress we all make in fighting the COVID-19 virus. The restrictions we have in place are for a purpose – to protect your children and my staff and I’m very proud of the fact that we have sent less students home to isolate than many other schools in Cheshire. We will only lift the protections we have in place, return to a normal timetable and re-introduce activities, when we judge it safe to do so or when restrictions are lifted. We do not want to undo all the good work by suffering further outbreaks in the New Year, with more students and staff having to isolate and the disruption to learning that invariably brings.
Our Anti-Bullying Ambassadors have been working hard to ensure that students are supported this term, despite the challenges of ‘bubbles’. The team successfully earned their ‘Wellbeing Badge’ for their new reporting system; safe space for vulnerable students, mentoring system, assemblies and anti-bullying board. I’m delighted to report that the team’s work earned us the ‘school of the month’ award from the Diana Foundation. Many congratulations to all involved.
Christleton’s Anti-Bullying Ambassadors
Mr Smith has written to you with further details of our last day, and arrangements for what you need to do, should your child test positive for COVID-19 over the holiday. Some staff will be on duty and available to deal with any positive cases during the early part of next week.
A special mention from us on the vital work that the Trussel Trust Foodbanks will be doing over the festive break, if you can help out or donate, they will be very grateful:
Over the last two weeks of term, Mrs Chesworth has been responsible for the Christmas advent calendar activities that students have been completing in Form time. On the last day of term, we have some fun activities for students in Form time, with a special musical performance from staff, to see them on their way to a great Christmas.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and for the many lovely messages we have received. It's been a somewhat frustrating term, but one that has proved enormously successful in getting the school safely re-opened and focusing on our core purpose of learning.
From everyone at Christleton High School, I hope you have a safe, restful and happy Christmas.
My very best wishes to you and your family.
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